Interviews & portraits

ITW : Alima Dembele: the story of a young woman with big dreams

Alima Dembelé

Temps de lecture : 3 mn 🕗

Alima Gnere Dembele is quite a spectacle for women’s basketball. The 21-year-old from Mali is having an exceptional season at Vera Lagunera Tenerife Adareva. 400 points in 20 games make her the best scorer in Women’s League 2. In her last great performance, on February 13, against Ulla Oil Rosalía at the Galicians, she added 26 points keeping her personal statistics at bay with 50% success on two-pointers and 75% on free throws.

So that we could get to know her a bit more, Alima was encouraged to speak with Deporpress.

Noelia Alberto: What does basketball mean to you? At what age did you start playing?

Alima Dembele: “I started playing basketball at the age of 11. It means a lot to me, it has become a way of life.

NA: What memories do you keep from the lower ranks?

AD: “I keep these steps with affection. I remember that at that time I already dreamed of going far and competing in the best categories.

NA: You have competed at the highest level since you were very young, do you think your life has been affected?

AD: “Yes. I left my country at a very young age, which changed my life a lot. I had a hard time moving to a new country, where people also speak a language which is not my mother tongue. I also had to separate from my family and loved ones, which is always difficult. Although my life has been affected, I am happy I made this decision and it makes me grow.

NA: How was your experience in Tenerife and in Vega Lagunera Adareva?

AD: “Positive. I feel comfortable at the Adareva Tenerife basketball club. The atmosphere with the staff and the players is good. As for the island, I like it: it has beautiful landscapes and I love the climate ”.

NA: How do you see the team and what do you think of the competition? Is there a lot of level on the ground?

AD: “We started off badly, but we were able to correct the mistakes and now the work is paying off. Currently, we have a record of ten wins against ten losses, occupying seventh place in the table.

NA: How do you feel knowing that you are the league’s top scorer and also the highest rated player? Do you think this adds pressure?

AD: “I am happy to see that my efforts and my dedication are rewarded, even if in the end it is somewhat anecdotal. The important thing is that I can continue to help my team achieve their goals and that I can continue to improve as a player. I don’t feel rushed by my statistics, moreover, it motivates me to work every day ”.

NA: Have you been personally affected by the Covid-19 restrictions? Training, audience in the stands, etc.

AD: “I find it strange to play without an audience, because it’s something we’re not used to. But my work remains the same. The restrictions did not affect me personally. For the good of all, I hope that the situation caused by COVID-19 will be resolved as soon as possible and that, as much as possible, we can return to normal life.

NA: Do you plan to stay in Tenerife next season?

AD: “It is still too early to make a decision. As I said before, I am happy in the team and I am focused on the end of the season. But I do not rule out continuing in Tenerife ”.

NA: Let’s talk about your team and your country of origin. How does basketball live in Mali? How do you feel when you put on your national team jersey?

AD: “There are differences between basketball in Mali and in Spain. When I played there, my basketball was not as good as it is today. In Spain, the level is high and there are qualified coaches. The technicians there weren’t very good and they didn’t teach me much. Even so, I am still proud to defend my country’s jersey ”.

NA: Which international competition you participated in was the most special for you?

AD: “I couldn’t choose, they are all special.”

NA: Do you plan to participate in the next international competitions with the senior team?

AD: “I hope to participate in the next international competitions, if the circumstances allow it. I am always ready to offer the maximum performance and to contribute to my country being at the top. In addition, I am learning a lot at Vega Lagunera Adareva and I think that when I come back I will be able to contribute more, since I have improved.

NA: Personally, how would you define yourself as a player?

AD: “I am a young player, with a lot of ambition and goals to fulfill in basketball”.

NA: Do you have short or long term goals? Maybe make the jump to the Endesa Women’s League?

AD: “No, keep improving as a player and helping my team.”

Noelia Alberto (Translated from Spanish)

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